Track: “Easter Eggs”
Just before Patton goes off on the Paas empire, he does a bit about the PBS artists from our youth.
I kind of thought Bill Alexander was regional. See, everybody remembers Bob Ross, the happy painter with the fro, the one who calmly painted landscapes. But my dad was a fan of William Alexander, the angry, hunched German painter who made the same landscapes, but did it with rage.
My dad loved watching William Alexander, and went out and bought all of his paints, brushes, books and canvases. He plotted out his landscape, his first masterpiece, which would be easy once he learned everything he could from this tiny man who “fired it in,” when his brush was filled with paint.
Patton does a great bit about how loony Alexander was, how his ramblings were half German propaganda and wild asides, somehow bringing it back to painting mountains. My dad’s love of German men was something my family acknowledged, but tried not to talk about. Let’s just say my dad’s part of the reason you can’t spell “History Channel” without “Hitler.”
But back to Dad’s masterpiece. He had spent a day priming the canvas with white. The kitchen was off limits, as he had everything just as he needed to create his art.
About fifteen minutes later, my father attacked the canvas with a metal scraping tool, drawing giant X’s through his work. He then opened the garage door and flung the canvas. It landed face-down in a pile of wet leaves.”
Nobody touch that,” he said. It remained there until we moved, six months later.
The paints, the books, the brushes, the canvases — they all eased into the garage and rested next to the crate that held my unfinished dollhouse, in front of the box marked “photography equipment,” hiding the dust-covered poker books.
I had forgotten that time William Alexander ruled our home. Patton brought it all back, hilariously.